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Woe Unto Lawyers

Woe Unto Lawyers

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Published by E1ias

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: E1ias on Jul 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Page 1 of 160Untitled 24 2006 10 12 21 20 9:20 AM
A lusty, gusty attack on “The Law” as a curious, antiquated institutionwhich, through outworn procedures, technical jargon and queermummery, enables a group of medicine-men to dominate our social andpolitical lives and our business, to their own gain.
Professor of Law, Yale UniversityWritten in 1939“Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken awaythe key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves,and them that were entering in ye hindered.” — Luke. XI, 52
Contents1.Modern Medicine-Men2.The Law of the Lawyers3.The Way it Works4.The Law at its Supremest5.No Tax on Max6.The Law and the Lady7.Fairy-Tales and Facts8.More about Legal Language9.Incubators of the Law10.A Touch of Social Signicance
Page 2 of 160Untitled 24 2006 10 12 21 20 9:20 AM
11.Lets Lay Down the LawPreface
No lawyer will like this book. It isn’t written for lawyers. It is written forthe average man and its purpose is to try to plant in his head, at the least,a seed of skepticism about the whole legal profession, its works and itsways.In case anyone should be interested, I got my own skepticism early.Before I ever studied law I used to argue occasionally with lawyers – afoolish thing to do at any time. When, as frequently happened, theycouldn’t explain their legal points so that they made any sense to me Ibrashly began to suspect that maybe they didn’t make any sense at all.But I couldn’t know. One of the reasons I went to law school was to tryto find out.At law school I was lucky. Ten of the men under whom I took courseswere sufficiently skeptical and common-sensible about the branches of law they were teaching so that, unwittingly of course, they servedtogether to fortify my hunch about the phoniness of the whole legalprocess. In a sense, they are the intellectual godfathers of this book. Andthough all of them would doubtless strenuously disown their godchild, Ithink I owe it to them to name them. Listed alphabetically, they are:Thurman Arnold, now Assistant Attorney-General of the United States;Charles E. Clark, now Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals;William O. Douglas, now Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; FelixFrankfurter, now Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Leon Green, nowDean of the Northwestern University Law School; Walton Hamilton,Professor of Law at Yale University; Harold Laski, Professor of PoliticalScience at the London School of Economics; Richard Joyce Smith, nowa practicing attorney in New York City; Wesley Sturges, now Director of 
Page 3 of 160Untitled 24 2006 10 12 21 20 9:20 AM
the Distilled Spirits Institute; and the late Lee Tulin.By the time I got through law school, I had decided that I never wantedto practice law. I never have. I am not a member of any bar. If anyoneshould want, not unreasonably, to know what on earth I am doing – ortrying to do – teaching law, he may find a hint of the answer toward theend of Chapter IX.When I was mulling over the notion of writing this book, I outlined myideas about the book, and about the law, to a lawyer who is not only ablebut also extraordinarily frank and perceptive about his profession.“Sure,” he said, “but why give the show away?” That clinched it.F.R.
The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science
.” Charles MacklinIn TRIBAL TIMES, there were the medicine-men. In the Middle Ages,there were the priests. Today there are the lawyers. For every age, agroup of bright boys, learned in their trade and jealous of their learning,who blend technical competence with plain and fancy hocus-pocus tomake themselves masters of their fellow men. For every age, a pseudo-intellectual autocracy, guarding the tricks of its trade from theuninitiated, and running, after its own pattern, the civilization of its day.It is the lawyers who run our civilization for us – our governments, ourbusiness, our private lives. Most legislators are lawyers; they make ourlaws. Most presidents, governors, commissioners, along with theiradvisers and brain-trusters are lawyers; they administer our laws. All the judges are lawyers; they interpret and enforce our laws. There is no

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